HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former senator Sardar Abdul Latif Khosa, who is also a senior lawyer, has said that Supreme Court could not change/alter Constitution or even a law which the present [federal] government intends to.

He was speaking to reporters at a luncheon hosted in his honour by additional advocate general Allah Bachayo Soomro in the Sindh High Court building here on Tuesday.

“The [PTI] government is trying to amend Article 63 to allow dual nationals to contest elections and to accommodate government’s advisers and ‘ATMs’,” he said, adding that the government did not have understanding of economy and governance.

‘Presidential reference on open ballot in Senate election should be brought in parliament’

Mr Khosa said the government was seeking to damage government-opposition working relationship — the acceptable norm in democracies. “PPP brought about hundreds of amendments but with consensus,” he said, and added that nothing could be thrust upon people or parties.

He said PPP had long ago moved a reference for a retrial of Z.A. Bhutto’s case but it had not been heard yet by the apex court. But the presidential reference on Senate election filed only recently was being heard.

He said the presidential reference on open vote did not have grounds technically. He expressed the view that SC should return the reference to government with directives to table it in parliament for amendment to Article 226 the way the apex court did in the case of army chief’s extension issue.

He drew a parallel between the extension case and presidential reference. He said three different directives were issued by government on the extension issue and the matter finally landed in parliament.

Mr Khosa said that Article 226 was clear that “all elections except for prime minister and chief minister shall be held through secret ballot”. He said exemptions had been defined in the article, still government moved the apex court. The government should have brought the matter to parliament, he added.

He said it was a responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure holding of free and fair elections. The elections in Daska (NA 75) had become questionable as 20 presiding officers had gone missing with election bags and the returning officer kept locating them but nothing happened. The ECP kept sending messages to the presiding officers but without response. These POs resurfaced the next morning. He said in this constituency an overall 35pc turnout was recorded but in these 20 polling stations it was 90pc with polling of 13,000 votes. He said these polling stations were located within a radius of around 30-35 kilometres and one could even travel on a bicycle in such area. He said that a candidate could not manage all this without administrative collusion. He said that all this could not be termed accidental.

He said ECP should expose whosoever is behind it.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2021

Opinion

For whom the clock ticks
Updated 22 Apr 2021

For whom the clock ticks

Tarin will have to succeed in order to cement his position within the cabinet.
Ending the ‘forever war’
Updated 21 Apr 2021

Ending the ‘forever war’

Regardless of who the adversary was at any point, two generations of Afghans have known only war.

Editorial

22 Apr 2021

Capping power debt

THE suggested revision in the Circular Debt Management Plan, which aims to cap the flow or addition of new debt to...
22 Apr 2021

Istanbul postponement

WHILE the postponement of the Istanbul peace talks on Afghanistan, which were scheduled to be held later this week,...
22 Apr 2021

No mining precautions

YET another accident caused by a methane gas explosion has been reported from the dangerous coal mines of...
More mishandling
Updated 21 Apr 2021

More mishandling

By its bad decision-making and weak management, the govt has allowed the TLP to garner more importance and heft than it deserves.
21 Apr 2021

Declining FDI

THE sharp decline in FDI in recent months is worrisome. New State Bank data shows that FDI has plummeted by a hefty...
21 Apr 2021

The digital divide

IN the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual Inclusive Internet Index report, measuring internet inclusion in terms...